Late summer... fall is coming and soon enough the colors of the forest will come to their climactic peak and then be reduced to very little but shades of brown and grey. But until then, Tall Ironweed, one of my favorite wildflowers, has shown up in the stream bottoms and I hope to see more of its purple blossoms soon. Plus Queen Anne's Lace, Goldenrods, and Fleabanes are all still holding on strong, so the wildflowers aren't done yet.
Still seeing Indian Pipe, and as I've written in previous posts, it's one of the few plants that lacks chlorophyll, instead obtaining its nutrients from other organisms in the forest. An adaptation that I find fascinating, even if it is a parasite of sorts.
Tall Ironweed's purple flowers are such a vibrant shade of purple that they just don't seem real to me sometimes. But they are real and are very beautiful. I typically find them down near the stream along the floodplain, but I have seen them in the hill top meadows too. And as I said in the introduction, they are one of my favorite wildflowers and I hope to see more and more of them blossoming soon.
This Green Frog probably traveled 15 feet before it stopped long enough for me to get a few good pictures. I wasn't able to see it clearly when it fled, but I was able to fllow the muddy water trail it left in its wake as it scrambled from one end of the pool to the other. It finally stopped along the shallow water near the stream bank, and its webbed feet, are clearly visible in the picture.
Well I always thought Yellow Ironweed (aka Wingstem) was a different variety of Ironweed, as my recent blog entries indicate, but I just read this week that V. alternifolia is only called "Yellow Ironweed" for its resemblance to the Ironweeds. I still prefer the name Yellow Ironweed though, but I now know that they are in fact from two different species completely.
I've photographed this Gem Studded Puffball a few weeks back, but now the hole in the mushroom that the cloud of its spores will emanate from is clearly visible. But the mushroom is still firm so it will probably be a month or more before the mushroom will "puff" its spores.
The Small Flower Forget Me Nots are still around, although I think they are getting close to finishing for the season. And it's interesting to me that I consistently find them along the stream, often times inches from the water's edge and even on "alluvial" islands in the stream itself formed from rocks and sand.
Chicken of the Woods is still around too and when you get close, there's no mistaking the bright pink color of the mushroom as it stands out against the browns and greens of the forest. I actually harvested a handful this time to take home and add to my chicken stir fry I was planning for dinner, but as has happened in the past, I decided against eating it. While it has no poisonous look-alikes and I would feel safe to eat it, the mushroom guides do talk about severe "gastrinal distress" that many people can experience when first trying wild mushrooms. And I don't want to experience that, especially if self-induced.
A member of the Aster family, Daisy Fleabane (aka Prairie Fleabane) has very narrow petals on its blossoms that distinguish it from true daisies like Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). Even though it is considered a weed by many because of their proliferation in certain areas, Daisy Fleabane's delicate flowers are very beautiful to me. And soon enough their purple cousins, New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) will be blooming soon... another favorite wildflower of mine.